• Name
  • Job Title and Employer
    Engineering Technician
  • Employer
    BMW Group
  • Provider
    Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Levels
    Level 6 (Higher) Apprenticeship
  • Training Provider and Qualification
    Level 6 Manufacturing Engineer - Birmingham City University in partnership with Birmingham Metropolitan College
  • Occupations
    Engineering and maintenance
  • Apprenticeship Start Date
    Aug 2019
  • Skills Gained
    Data Analytics Presentation Skills Workshop Skills Networking Problem Solving
  • What are your interests outside of work?

     My current main hobby is Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), which I started when I started my apprenticeship. I had my first fight last year, where I managed to get the win! I have also played many sports, some of which I do now and again, such as long distance running, rugby, and squash. I also play the drums and love music. I really enjoy cooking and learning about the culinary world, and I am also into gaming. 

GetMyFirstJob Ambassador

Hello, I Am JJ

After three consecutive years of doing a week's worth of work experience at Plant Oxford, I was invited to an apprenticeship event at the plant, to try and convince me to apply for their apprenticeship. It worked! I also went through the whole UCAS process and applied and was accepted into a university, which would have been my backup if I didn't get into the BMW apprenticeship. Thankfully, I got a place and I have never looked back. It was the best decision I have ever made. The appeal of combining real hands-on experience by working in a company, while studying at the same time was massive. In engineering, work experience is incredibly important, and I was able to get that straight away. Furthermore, the company sponsors my degree, meaning I have no university debt, which is a huge positive as well.

Tell us more about your experience

My day-to-day role varied significantly throughout the apprenticeship based on what year of the apprenticeship I was in and which department I had placements in.  

In the first year of the apprenticeship, a lot of my time was spent in the Training School workshop learning hands-on engineering skills such as milling, turning, hand fitting, electrical wiring, electronics, and more.  

Years 2 and 3 I spent rotating round different departments every three months. I found this to be an exceptional experience. 

I was able to constantly adapt and challenge myself to new departments and new projects. 

Departments varied from Process Planning, even to a short stint in Finance. I was consistently trusted with projects within the departments, as well as learning each of their function within the business. 

My projects naturally gravitated towards digitalisation, as it combines my love of engineering and computing. During these rotations, I was also attending college for one day a week as part of the degree, with a second day off to complete my studies. In the final year, I am placed in my home department, again with two days of the week spent on my university studies. I am primarily working on a global project relating to SAP (business and management software), which was completely new to me and is bringing many exciting opportunities, including travelling to Germany, which I love.  

The highlight of my career has to be winning an award in the Young Pioneer category in The Manufacturer's Top 100 awards in 2021. 

 Particularly in the final year of the apprenticeship, managing my time has become quite tricky, particularly balancing university work, and normal work activities. I have been reminded by my manager to ensure that I am not taking on too much work, so that what I am working on is of high quality and doesn't intrude on my studies  

BMW is very supportive. I feel comfortable raising any questions or concerns either with my hiring manager, training manager or HR if needed and I know that the problem will be sorted. There are great levels of support regarding balancing work and university, as my managers know that it is incredibly important and gives me enough time to complete it. Furthermore, the other apprentices are always willing to help too.  

Every 1:1 I have with my manager, there is an open discussion about my future after the apprenticeship. I have been presented with options that will be decided upon within the next couple of months.  

My manager is incredibly supportive about my career path at BMW and constantly reminds me that my input into where I want to be is just as, if not more, important than the business requirements.  

Just apply! There is no harm in applying and going through as much of a hiring process as possible. It is always useful to get that experience, so apply and see how far you get. I have had a fantastic experience with my apprenticeship and have loved learning in a working environment. I have still been able to have a good social life, particularly by being able to visit my friends who did go to Uni in many different parts of the country, so don't worry about losing out on that side of things. If you do get hired, I would absolutely take up the opportunity.  

Work experience is much more valuable than just having a degree and doing an apprenticeship will often set you apart from the rest. 

Since completing my apprenticeship, I was hired as a Maintenance Planner in Assembly Technology with additional responsibilities as the Assembly SAP Key User, Smart Maintenance Technology Lead, and Digitalisation Specialist. I have been primarily involved in managing and continuing the rollout of Maintenance Satellite Stores, both in Assembly, and across the plant. This involves managing stock counts, performing stock uploads, and raising and managing any defects that are detected in the system. This has been very challenging, since we are the first implementation of this in BMW Group.

Naturally, I am also slowly gaining more knowledge about maintenance as a function, how they work, and all the equipment in Assembly. In my apprenticeship journey, I didn’t do any maintenance rotations, so I am also going to be getting involved with performing maintenance work and attending breakdowns, which gives me the opportunity to really get familiar with the processes and the people.

I have not done any additional qualifications since I have graduated but I have been continuing my SAP learning and AWS training.

My advice to someone considering an apprenticeship in this industry would be to make the most of any opportunity to work with different people or in different areas. It is incredibly helpful to have a broad understanding of the manufacturing process, while building up your network.

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